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Satellite navigation: implementation of the deployment and commercial operating phases

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Satellite navigation: implementation of the deployment and commercial operating phases

The purpose of the Galileo programme is to establish the first worldwide satellite radionavigation and positioning infrastructure specifically for civil purposes. The programme includes technological, political and economic dimensions, but has now reached an advanced stage of maturity and goes well beyond the framework of a simple research project. It has to be placed on a specific legal basis, better able to satisfy its needs and meet the requirement for good financial management.


Proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation on the implementation of the deployment and commercial operating phases of the European programme of satellite radionavigation.


The Galileo programme consists in a technology aimed at improving the everyday life of European citizens in various fields. In particular, it fits perfectly into the framework of transport policy as described in the Commission's White Paper.

The Galileo programme comprises the following four successive phases:

  • a definition phase which ran from 1999 to 2001 during which the system architecture was designed and decisions made on the services to be offered;
  • a development and validation phase which runs from 2002 to 2005 and covers the development of the satellites and the system's ground components, as well as validation in orbit;
  • a deployment phase running from 2006 to 2007 involving the building and launching of satellites and the establishment of the entire ground-based component;
  • a commercial operating phase which will begin in 2008 and cover the management of the infrastructure - satellites and the associated ground stations - as well as the maintenance and updating of the system.

The definition and development phases are the research part of the programme. In order to ensure the continuity of the programme, the Commission must monitor the financing of the deployment and commercial operating phases, which will include a Community contribution.

The cost of the deployment phase is estimated to be EUR 2.1 billion. On this basis, the private sector should cover at least EUR 1.4 billion and the rest, around EUR 700 million, should be financed by the public sector. Consequently, the Community contribution towards the deployment phase should reach EUR 500 million in the new financial perspective.

The financing of the commercial operating phase, which will begin in 2008, will be covered by the private sector. However, taking into account the special nature of the market for satellite navigation services, the marketing of these services and the fact that their provision must be guaranteed in the public interest, it will be necessary to provide some exceptional public financing during the first years of the commercial operating phase. The exact amount of the Community contribution will not be known until the conclusion of the negotiations (due to continue in 2005) on the concession contract. In this connection, it is reasonable to allocate a sum of EUR 500 million for this purpose in the new financial perspective.

A sum of EUR 1 billion will therefore be required from the Community budget to finance the deployment and the commercial operating phases of Galileo between 2007-2013.

During the deployment and commercial operating phases, the construction and subsequent management of the system will be entrusted to a private concessionaire working under the control of the Supervisory Authority (a Community agency acting as the licensing authority for the system). The Supervisory Authority will be established during the first half of 2005. Its role will be to manage public interests relating to the European satellite radionavigation programmes and to act as the licensing authority for the future concessionaire.

Its tasks will include managing the public funds allocated to the European satellite radionavigation programmes and monitoring the financial management of this programme to optimise the use of such funds.



Official Journal


COM(2004) 477




Regulation (EC) No 807/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2236/95 laying down general rules for the granting of Community financial aid in the field of trans-European networks [Official Journal L 143 of 30.04.2004].

White Paper: Space: a new European frontier for an expanding Union. An action plan for implementing the European Space policy [COM(2003) 673 - not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EC) No 876/2002 of 21 May 2002 setting up the Galileo Joint Undertaking [Official Journal L 138 of 28.05.2002].

White Paper: European transport policy for 2010: time to decide [COM(2001) 370 - not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EC) No 1321/2004 of 12 July 2004 on the establishment of structures for the management of the European satellite radio-navigation programmes [Official Journal L 246 of 20.07.2004].

Council Joint Action 2004/552/CFSP of 12 July 2004 on aspects of the operation of the European satellite radio-navigation system affecting the security of the European Union [Official Journal L 246 of 20.07.2004].

Last updated: 16.05.2007